Raiders come up short in Rocky Mount

Published 12:01 pm Saturday, October 18, 2014

Southampton Academy’s Ethan Edwards busts out of a tackle by a Rocky Mount Academy defender. The Raiders fell 52-42 Friday night. -- CAIN MADDEN | THE TIDEWATER NEWS

Southampton Academy’s Ethan Edwards busts out of a tackle by a Rocky Mount Academy defender. The Raiders fell 52-42 Friday night. — CAIN MADDEN | THE TIDEWATER NEWS

Southampton Academy and Rocky Mount Academy matched each other’s serve until about the 6:58 mark in the second quarter, when senior leader Matt Rose went out and the complexion of the game changed. In the end the Raiders come up short 52-42 in the NCISAA Colonial Carolina 8-man football match.

The Raiders struck early, taking 2:08 to march the ball down the field after receiving the opening kickoff. Rose had a couple of big runs to set them up at the 5 yard line, and from there, Nate Williams punched it in. Rose ran in the conversion and the Raiders were up 8-0.

However, it didn’t take the Eagles long to match it, as Rod White broke free on the first play following the kick for a 62-yard rushing touchdown. However, he was stuffed on the conversion and the Raiders led 8-6.

The Raiders took their time on the next drive, putting together 12 plays that would end in a Nate Williams 3-yard touchdown. He also ran in the conversion, making the score 16-6 with 3 minutes left in the first.

RMA would again match the touchdown, getting their score as time expired in the first quarter. This time Jacob Hunter broke some tackles on a jet sweep to get in from 30-yards out. The conversion was stuffed, and the Raiders led 16-12.

On Zach Fulcher’s kickoff, Harrison Pope would catch it at the 3-yard line and weave all the way through traffic for the 97-yard touchdown to start off the second quarter. Williams was stuffed on the conversion, and the Raiders led 22-12.

RMA would score just over 2 minutes later, however, at the 10:24 mark, on a 40-yard play-action pass from Kyle Holland to Fulcher, who was wide open. White ran in the conversion and the Raider lead was cut to 22-20.

In the next series, however, Rose picked up a 13-yard first down, but he was pushed out of bounds into a Gator that was parked in the player’s box on the Eagles sideline. A hush went over the Raider’s sideline as they watched to see if he would get up. After several minutes, he would walk to the Raider sideline under his own power, but Andrew Lowe would go in at quarterback.

Lowe kept the momentum going for this drive, at least, as he connected with Williams for a 30-yard touchdown. The conversion failed, but the Raider lead increased.

RMA would answer 30 seconds later, however, with Hunter rushing it in from 60 yards out on a sweep. The score was tied with 5 minutes to go in the half.

On the next series, the Raiders had to punt it with 46 seconds left. The Eagles were not able to score in that time, though they were able to push it to the 15-yard line, and Fulcher missed on a 25-yard field goal attempt.

The Eagles received the kick to start the third, however, and Hunter would score rushing up the gut from 30-yards out. Holland ran in the conversion, making it 36-28.

At this point, the Raiders were not able to match serve, with Lowe throwing an interception to Jackson Browder. He took it all the way to Southampton’s 40. On the second play from scrimmage, Hunter got in on a sweep from 17-yards out. Holland kept it for a successful conversion, and it was 44-28 Eagles.

The Raiders were not about to quit, however. A 7-play drive culminated in an endzone pass from Lowe to Pope with 51 seconds left in the third. Edwards got the conversion, and it was 44-36 Eagles.

One play into the third quarter, however, and the Eagles were back on the board. White scored from 70 yards out with 11:49 to go.

The Raiders scored quickly, however. After Williams brought it to the 1 yard line on the third play of the drive, Edwards punched it in. Rocky Mount stuffed the conversion and made it a two-possession game, with the score 52-42.

SA forced the Eagles to punt on the next drive, but were not able to capitalize as Williams threw an interception on a halfback option pass, with Jacob Hunter catching it before running out of bounds.

RMA would move the ball down the field until Holland took a knee on SA’s 33 yard line to end the game.

Head Coach Dale Marks said he was proud of his team for their effort, and he was proud of Lowe for stepping in for Rose in a big-game situation and performing well.

“It was a good ball game, and we were each holding serve until we threw that interception,” Marks said. “We probably should have been running it more in that situation, but they were all in the box and we thought we’d mix it up more. It was a tipped ball, so not a lot you can do in that situation.”

Marks said Rose would hopefully be back next week, as they prepare to face Halifax Academy at home for the final game of the regular season.

Edwards led in rushing with 155 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Williams wasn’t far behind with 118 yards on 15 attempts with two rushing touchdowns. Williams also caught one pass for 30 yards for a score. Lowe was 5-of-7 passing for 59 yards and he threw two touchdown passes and had one interception.